A decade after BMW revealed its first M-Division SUVs, the company has now expanded its portfolio of very quick gravel travellers.
Details of the X3 and X4 M SUVs have finally been made public, ahead of their scheduled debut at the Geneva auto show, in March. Although the SUV configuration might still be bothersome to true BMW M-Division traditionalists, the technical expertise that Munich’s finest mechanical engineers have applied to these cars are deeply impressive.
Both the X3 and X4 M-cars will be powered by the familiar BMW 3-litre in-line six, boosted by a twin-turbocharged set-up. Interestingly, two grades of the 3-litre turbo will be available, either a ‘standard’ 353 kW/600 Nm configuration, or an even more potent Competition option, surging peak power to 375 kW.
Power is predictably sent to all four wheels, via an eight-speed automatic transmission – with no dual-clutch drivetrain option. Those power numbers and all-wheel traction combine to deliver very keen acceleration numbers: 0-100kph in 4.2 seconds (4.1 sec for the Competition derivatives) and a top speed of 280 kph for X3/4 Ms with the optional Drivers’ Package.
If you require an additional 5 kph of top end, paring a Driver’s Package delimiter to the any of the Competition X3/4 M models will raise maximum speed potential to 285 kph. A dual-branch exhaust system with active flaps and 100 mm piping diameter should guarantee that these six-cylinder M-Division SUVs sound the part too. Selectable transmission shift patterns, suspension settings and styling trinkets are all familiar M-Division fare.
Technology abounds, with BMW’s engineers calculating that the cornering performance and higher SUV centre of gravity would possibly render lubrication issues, and therefore the sump is separated in two chambers, enabling a suction channel in between for optimal oil circulation. The X3/4 M cylinder heads also feature intricate 3D printed shapes, which allow for incredible geometric precision, optimising pre-combustion swirl and efficiency.
Following the trend in high-performance automotive marketing, BMW will first debut the more powerful Competition models, which should arrive in South African during the third quarter of this year. The ‘less powerful’ 353 kW options will follow later.